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Updated 12 October 2007
Fabiano JOSEPH Naasi, Tanzania (5000m/10,000m/Half Marathon)
Born 24 December 1985, Babati District, Arusha Region, Tanzania.
Second of four children.
Married to fellow international athlete Josephine Deemay. Lives, trains in Arusha.
Manager: PACE Sports Management.
Fabiano Joseph has one of the most distinguished records in the recent history of the World Road Running (nee Half Marathon) Championships—two silver medals and a gold from 2003-05. This year, returning from injury and having just notched a half-marathon PB (60:14 in Rotterdam), he faces one of the most formidable fields in the history of the event.
Joseph first competed internationally in the Junior race at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships in Dublin (72nd) while in his final year of primary school, having already recorded a sub-29 minute time in a 10km road race. He stopped schooling at the end of that year to pursue a running career. In November, he was selected to represent Tanzania in a half-marathon in Lagos, finishing 3rd in 64:00.
At the recommendation of Tanzanian coach Max Iranqhe, Joseph attracted the interest of management firm KIM (now PACE), which arranged several races on the European cross country circuit early in 2003. After four top-5 placings on the circuit, Joseph finished 19th in the senior World Cross Country 12km. He immediately embarked on a series of road races, placing well in all—4th Stramilano Half-Marathon (61:43); 3rd Humarathon (61:41), 3rd Marseille 10km (28:24), 2nd British 10km (28:14).
From there Joseph went straight to the track for several major races: 1st AAA of England 10,000 (27:32.81), 8th Lausanne 5000 (13:22.89), 14th Brussels 10,000 (PB 27:32.63) and 13th in the World Championships 10,000 in Paris (28:06.36). He capped his season at the World Half Marathon Championships, in Vilamoura, Portugal, finishing 2nd (PB 60:52) behind Kenya’s Martin Lel, and leading Tanzania to the team title. “I knew the Kenyans were strong but I was ready to die,” said Joseph.
He continued on the roads and cross country at the end of 2003 and beginning of 2004, winning a couple of big races on the European circuit and improving his finish in the World Cross Country 12km to 7th. He ran two half-marathons a week apart in early spring (13th Lisbon in 61:52 and 6th Stramilano in 61:03), then in June suffered a bout of typhoid that curtailed his training during the crucial build-up to the Olympics. Nevertheless, he twice improved his track 5000m best (13:17.83 for 13th in Oslo and 13:15.90 PB for 12th in Stockholm) and doubled at the World Junior Championships, in Grosseto, Italy—6th in the 5000 (13:33.62), 2nd in the 10,000 (28:04.45).
Attempting the same double in the Athens Olympics, Joseph found his lack of training had an effect: he came 10th (28:01.94) in the 10,000 and faded to 11th in his 5000 heat (13:31.89), failing to qualify for the final. After Athens, he concentrated on preparing for the World Half Marathon in New Delhi in early October, and against a field depleted in the post-Olympic autumn, he repeated as silver medallist (62:31), behind another Kenyan, Paul Kirui (62:15).
Joseph resumed cross country competition in late November and ran six races in two months, all in Spain, but chose not to compete in the 2005 World Cross Country Championships after entering the Seoul International Marathon a week earlier and failing to finish. He experienced success on US roads during the summer (2nd in Peachtree 10km and Boilermaker 15 km, 1st in Bobby Crim 10M) but disappointment at the World Championships in Helsinki (15th in the 5000 in 13:42.50 after 13:18.18 in his heat).
He warmed up for the World Half Marathon Championships in Edmonton with a 6th place three weeks earlier in the Rotterdam Half (61:07 behind Samuel Wanjiru’s world best 59:16). Then on a cold, wet day in Edmonton he won the world title by a whisker in 61:08 as he slipped past Qatar’s Mubarak Shami a metre before the finish, when Shami (the former Kenyan Richard Yatich) eased up in a premature victory celebration.
In 2006 Joseph represented Tanzania at the Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne, and collected a bronze in the 10,000 (27:51.99) as well as a 5th place in the 5000 (13:12.76 PB). But otherwise he stuck to the roads and cross country. He won a 10km in Edinburgh and two half-marathons, one in Spain and one in Bogota (62:34 CR at 2600m altitude).
In April, he paced the London Marathon through 38 km, and six months later, bypassing a defence of his title in the World Half Marathon (which had become the World Road Running Championship), he made his official marathon debut in Amsterdam, finishing 10th in 2:13:24. In December he paced the Fukuoka Marathon, helping Haile Gebrselassie clock 2:06.52.
2007 began as usual with cross country, notably with 4th place in Edinburgh behind the formidable trio of Kenenisa Bekele, Zersenay Tadesse and Eliud Kipchoge. In February he ran a 60:53 half marathon for 6th at Ras Al Khaimah, in the UAE, behind the 58:53 world quickest by Wanjiru. But the next month he was unable to finish either the World Cross Country, in Mombasa, or the Stramilano Half Marathon, severely hampered by tightness in his back and hamstrings.
After months of therapy, and no racing, Joseph returned to the roads in the Rotterdam Half Marathon in September with an impressive PB of 60:14. This seems to indicate that he is ready to try to regain in Udine the title he won two years ago in Edmonton. But, to do so, he has to deal not only with last year’s World Road Running champion, Zersenay Tadesse, but also with a quartet of Kenyans, including world record holder Wanjiru, all with sub-60 PBs. An uphill struggle, but the young Tanzanian, not yet 22 years old, is well used to that.
5000m/10,000m/Half Marathon: 2002 - --/--/64:00; 2003 – 13:22.89/ 27:32.63/ 60:52; 2004 – 13:15.90/ 28:01.94/ 61:03; 2005 – 13:18.18/28:33.44/61:00; 2006 – 13:12.76/27:51.99/62:34; 2007 - --/--/60:14.
5000m: 13:12.76 (2006)
10,000m: 27:32.63 (2003)
Half Marathon: 60:14 (2007)
Marathon: 2:13.24 (2006)
2002 72nd, World Cross Country Championships (Junior)
2003 19th, World Cross Country Championships
2003 13th, World Championships 10,000m
2003 2nd, World Half Marathon Championships
2004 7th, World Cross Country Championships
2004 10th, Olympic Games 10,000m
2004 2nd, World Junior Championships 10,000m
2004 6th, World Junior Championships 5000m
2004 2nd, World Half Marathon Championships
2005 15th, World Championships 5000m
2005 1st, World Half Marathon Championships
2006 3rd, Commonwealth Games 10,000m
2006 5th, Commonwealth Games 5000m
Prepared by John Manners and Gloria Mutahanamilwa for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2004-2007.